Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

1lineartI love this pattern. It is easy to put together, and perfectly flattering. Given that, I will admit that its not perfect. I think there might have been some minor mistakes when Butterick translated from the retro original. The back skirt always ends up slightly wider than the back bodice for me, but its easy to fix with a dart tweak. I almost never use the given variations, and I find the bows horrendous.

But this pattern has become an amazing base for me to make up my own variations. You can see that it is easy to draft petal sleeves, create an interesting draped and pleated skirt structure, create a lace bodice top with sweetheart neckline, use a built in petticoat lining or separate petticoat, or anything else!

I never fail to get compliments on dresses I make with this pattern. And I’ve used it to make 7 different dresses over the years: 50’s Birthday DressScience Girl Eats50’s Mad Hatter Dress50’s SilkBridesmaid DressScience Girl is Sour

Butterick B5603 Misses’ Empire-Waist Dresses

 

Science Girl is Sour

Science Girl had the opportunity to attend a new event last week. The Museum of Life and Science had an After Hours event about the “Science of Sour.” It covered everything from fermentation, to pickling, to how your taste buds work. And of course I had to make a themed dress.

Spoonflower actually had a pickle design contest lately, so I had a lot of designs to choose from. My favorite was this design by pinky_wittingslow covered with watercolor cucumber slices, and even a hint of dill in the background. I used the cotton lawn fabric because of its soft texture and easy drape.

I used the same dress pattern you’ve seen plenty of other times on other projects. To switch things up a bit I hand drafted petal sleeves. I’ve been meaning to try them again in something more formal, and I’m so glad I did. It added an interesting element to this dress that I feel really drew attention.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Because the lining would show at the edge of the sleeves I wanted something perfect that would complement the colors of the pickles. I chose this design by brainsarepretty and printed it on satin. Slippery to sew, but perfect for linings.

 

Butterick Apron Dress B4790 ★★★

15lineartI so wish I could recommend this pattern. Its fun and unique and weird, and should be very comfortable and very easy! But… Clearly the transition from “retro” sizing to modern sizing lost something along the way. I’m not the only person who’s had trouble fitting this pattern. The darts are oddly placed, and weirdly sized.

There are people that have done work to make this pattern actually fit like it should, but for the most part I’m just too lazy and disappointed to try again. If you want to try your hand at it though, I’d recommend this tutorial.

I used this pattern in this project: Librarian Apron Dress

Librarian Apron Dress

I was planning this dress out nearly a year ago. I never actually got around to finishing it until we got crazy snowed in this week.

The pattern is the Retro Butterick 4790 dress. It has an interesting structure, its all one piece that goes over your head and connects in the back and the front. I’ve been meaning to try it out for awhile, just for that uniqueness.

final-front

I found the sizing a little odd, which is not unusual for retro patterns. Luckily, it has a very casual fit, so it works out. The waist was very tiny and the bodice was a little large. I used ties in the front instead of buttons, which also made the fit easier. It has that great classic ‘50s silhouette, and the full skirt swings around your knees. I can just imagine a crazy librarian wandering around and climbing up ladders and dusting shelves in this dress. It makes me happy.

I wrote a review of this pattern here: Butterick Apron Dress B4790 ★★★

final-back

I designed my own fabric for the front part of the “apron.” It features quotes from my favorite authors, including Dorothy Sayers (as always), Neil Gaiman (for an even longer always), Lois McMaster Bujold, Jasper Fforde, JRR Tolkein, Connie Willis, and others.

bookdressfab

Words mean a lot to me. A lot a lot. I want to wear my favorite words, because I take them with me everywhere anyways. This will at least warn people what they’re dealing with when they talk to me.

bookdressfab3

The fabric is Spoonflower’s organic cotton sateen. The quotes fabric is by me, you can see it here. The book spines fabric is a lovely design by peacoquettedesigns, and I’ve wanted to do something with it ever since I first saw it.

50’s Silk

silk-sm

I made this dress for a wedding I attended last summer. You may recognize the pattern, I used it for the Science Girl Eats dress, and (with heavy modifications) the Fifties Alice dress, and this border print contra dance dress, and this first instance of the returning dress. And even, actually, when I made a bride’s maid dress for a friend’s wedding last june.

This dress is silk, and I took more care with it than I usually do with sewing. I even used horse-hair braid in the hem and I cut the hem unevenly (intentionally this time, I promise!) because I wanted the hem to curl and twirl with every move. It worked perfectly.

I love this pattern because it is easy to sew, it is super flattering, it is easily adaptable to whatever I need to use it for. The dress can be casual and fun or formal and yet still comfortable to wear.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Hey readers, its sharing time! Do you have a pattern that you return to time and time again? Do you have a pattern that is perfect nearly every time you use it? Do you have a pattern that you’ve had to buy multiple times because you keep wearing out the tissue paper (or maybe you don’t even need the pattern anymore because you can draw it with your eyes closed)?

Bridesmaid Dress

This was a dress I did to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding last summer. And yes, you’ve seen this pattern before, its one of my favorites. Its the Retro Butterick 5630 dress.

I lined it and added some green tulle to simulate a petticoat and add a little flash of color when I twirled.

Its made out of spoonflower sateen that is hand-dyed. It was a charming and fun wedding. Each of us made our own dresses and dyed them. The bride and groom are some of my closest friends, and they know how to throw a wedding.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

50’s Birthday Dress

I’ve been a little 50s dress obsessed lately. Maybe I jumped on the Mad Men wagon a bit late, or maybe its just the fun Retro patterns I got on sale. Anyways, I decided I needed a tea dress, petticoat et al. The dress is a simple cotton (not spoonflower actually, I wanted something a little softer than our quilting weight) with my favorite boat neckline, and a low back. I love this style, it is ridiculously flattering on me. This was also the first time I ever made a full petticoat. I used the sugardale tutorial, which was very well written, simple, with clear directions. It was one of the most tedious sewing projects I’ve ever done. And took longer to make than the dress itself. But it looks exactly like what I wanted, so I’m satisfied!

I wrote a review of this dress pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★